The goal of the Narrative unit was to explore different stories, experiences, and/or stories through our works. In English, I wrote two essays, one more poetic and the other more persuasive, yet both were covering serious topics. In Digital Media, I learned the basic skills of how to make music and create mandalas, and in animation, I worked on creating a story using 3D animation in Maya.
In English, I had to write a lyrical essay after reading Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, which blends prose and poetic language to create a unique experience for the reader to empathize with another. Our assignment required me to interview someone who is distinctly different from me in some identity-related category, in this case being transgender.
“It’s gonna be okay.”
You open your eyes. It’s morning. You need a glass of water.
You get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, stopping in front of the mirror. When you look at your reflection, it doesn’t match the you that you picture in your mind. Something feels off.
You close your eyes and take a breath, splashing the water on your face. You feel the water run down your skin, flowing down your cheeks. You feel refreshed. You dry your face and smile.
“Everything’s gonna be okay.”
You get dressed and exit your room to join your family for breakfast. Your mother steps out of the kitchen as you walk by, crossing her arms.
“Why must you dress like that?”
You glance down at your baggy clothes that hide your frame and roll your eyes. You ignore her denouncing comment. You are used to hearing it. Or at least, that’s what you tell yourself. You grab a glass of water and take a sip.
“It’s gonna be okay.”
It’s noon. You put on your uniform as you leave the house to go to work. You run the cashier, scanning the items you were handed by the customers and reading their amount to them. It’s a simple job, and you fit in with the others. During your break, a coworker approaches you. He smiles and offers you a bottle of water. You smile back and shake your head.
“I’m not thirsty.”
Several hours go by. A woman approaches the front with her child by her side, setting a bag of sour candies in front of you.
“That’ll be $3.”
“Thank you, miss–”
She stops as she looks at my name tag and then your chest. You see her eyebrow raise. It’s as if she was looking for something that wasn’t there. Or rather, something that you didn’t want to be there. You wait for her to finish. She doesn’t finish, handing you the money and tugging her child’s arm, hastily exiting the store.
Your throat feels dry. You have the sudden urge to drink some water. You hold it in.
“Only a few more hours. It’s gonna be okay.”
It’s night. You go to wash up in the bathroom, splashing the water on your face. The water rolls down your cheeks, although it feels more salty this time. Like the depths of the ocean that wish to drown you.
You return to your bed, staring up at the ceiling. You are tired. Tired of this thirst that can never be permanently quenched. Every time you think you don’t need another drink, the ocean pulls you back in, filling your lungs with salt and drying out your throat. It makes you want to take another drink. And then another. And another. It never ends. All you want to do is flow, just be another droplet that runs through the river. Why can’t others see that too?
You curl up into ball and shut your eyes. Your throat feels parched as your mind fades to darkness.
You open your eyes. It’s morning. You need a glass of water.
Social and Civic Responsibility Research Paper
In English, I had to investigate a topic related to the 21st Century Skill of Social and Civic Responsibility. I chose to analyze Environmental Literacy, discussing the problems caused by destroying the rainforests and a possible solution to the issue.
Certified Food: Time to Save the Rainforest
Imagine. Just imagine a world without trees. Without trees, there would be no pencils, no paper, among many other things. But most importantly, this would lead to a world without life. No humans or animals. Many people can’t imagine something like this ever happening. There are billions of trees growing all around the world. There is no way that they can all die. Well, maybe all at once they can’t, but as time goes on, it can start to become more of a reality. This is what will become of the world if deforestation is left to grow without any limits. If more trees are cut down than those that grow back, it is only a matter of time before places like the Amazon Rainforest are completely devoid of trees. However, it seems as if there is nothing we can do about it. Unless you’re part of a big organization dedicated to protecting the forest, it can feel as though any effort you make won’t make a difference in the end. Well, anyone can help. While yes, recycling and planting trees are more known as common solutions, let’s discuss a lesser known one: buying certified food. Although to consumers, it may not seem like they can do much to make a difference against deforestation, buying certified food can help protect the rainforest ecosystem and allow the Amazon, and us, to continue thriving.
While one of the most common ways to preserve the rainforest is to just recycle, there is another method that could be just as efficient: buying rainforest certified food. This means that these foods are sourced from forests whose land is protected as well as those who reside in it, both animals and people. But first, it’s important for us to understand just how big the Amazon is and why it’s important to preserve it. “The Amazon Rainforest… is the single largest tropical rainforest, accounting for thirty percent of all the tropical rainforests left in the world. It is estimated that the Amazon is home to one-tenth of the world’s plant and animal species. The deforestation of this region is perhaps the single greatest environmental risk facing the planet” (Casey). There are many different reasons for the rise of deforestation of this natural landscape, including to air pollution, overgrazing, and of course, logging. Not all of these causes are a result of human activity, but many of them do stem from it. This can have a variety of different effect that don’t only affect the creatures of the Amazon, but also us too. Not just for the lack of oxygen, but for the loss of biodiversity.
According to the World Health Organization, about 80 percent of the world’s population relies for primary health care at least partially on traditional medicine. The biodiversity loss and associated large changes in forest cover could trigger abrupt, irreversible and harmful changes. These include regional climate change including feedback effects that could theoretically shift rainforests to savannas and the emergence of new pathogens as the growing trade in bushmeat increases contact between humans and animals (Sumit Chakravarty).
As time goes on, the rate of deforestation only continues to grow more and more. Many attempts have been made to slow this increase, but stopping the problem completely is a whole other story. While there is no full solution to completely end deforestation, let’s think back to our topic: certified food products. Since the early 1990s, there have been many different organizations that specialize and providing products that are sustainable and do not damage the rainforest, and the number of them only continue to grow today. One such foundation is known as Fair Trade. Actually, this is more than just a foundation. Fair Trade is a movement that’s occurring all throughout the world. It focuses on changing and bettering the marketplace, including both producers and consumers, so that we may protect our planet.
Environmental practices have long-term impacts on the livelihoods of producers, communities, and the planet. Our standards work to keep the planet healthy for generations to come by prohibiting the most harmful chemicals and taking measures to protect natural resources… When you see a product with the Fair Trade Certified™ seal, you can be sure it was made according to rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards… As a result, consumer awareness of the Fair Trade Certified seal is at 63%—nearly double what it was in 2008 (Fair Trade Certified).
Speaking of awareness, upon looking at the graph below, you can see that in the past decade, the amount of fair trade certified products in the United States along has increased drastically. When the company first began in 1998, there was hardly any of their products being sold, at least compared to today. Let’s look at another similar group that’s ensuring the protection of the rainforests: The Rainforest Alliance. This group is particular is transforming land-use practices in such ways that they do not damage the natural rainforests, including the Amazon. Their seal includes a little green frog, which is an “indicator species, meaning that [frogs] are a symbol of environmental health, and they are found on every continent except Antarctica.” (Rainforest Alliance). This seal ensures that their products are not only sources from protected forests, but also Rainforest Certified farms, which are required to follow certain principles to ensure that they “[encompass] all three pillars of sustainability—social, economic, and environmental” (Rainforest Alliance). The United Kingdom is the most popular country that is using the Rainforest Alliance seal. Similar to Fair Trade, within the past decade, it can be seen that the sales revenue of Rainforest Alliance certified food and drink products in the UK have only gone up, as shown in the graph below. But what do these two graphs mean, and are they suddenly increasing today? They both show that more businesses are promoting crops that are Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified, and consumers are willing to buy them. People are starting to understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and that world needs to be protected if they want to continue revolving upon it. Sustainable practices are becoming more widely adopted by different companies, because of the fact that almost 50% of people all around the world check to see if the product they’re buying is both socially and environmentally responsible. With this trend, I predict that the number will only continue to rise over the next decade, and as it does, the Earth will not lose some of its largest and oldest creations.
(Fair Trade USA)
(Co-operative Group, and Ethical Consumer)
One example of a rainforest certified food is Guayaki’s yerba mate. This company began in 1996 and specializes in creating yerba mate products, a caffeine-infused drink similar to that of coffee. Now, with the increase of people using technology, they decided to take a different and unique approach to selling their product.
Guayaki Yerba Mate has committed to engaging their consumers solely through social media marketing channels, becoming the first consumer product company to allocate their entire public relations budget to the discipline. The bold shift in strategy has been put in place to enlist support from the global digital community around Guayaki’s unique mission driven product. Guayaki’s goal is that this social media focused strategy will translate into simultaneously selling product and preventing Rainforest deforestation, one Facebook fan at a time. (PR Newswire)
They specifically focus on restoring the South American Atlantic Rainforest, which is actually older than the Amazon Rainforest and has a larger variety of species. It is only separated from the Amazon by a savannah, but it perhaps has suffered even more deforestation than its counterpart. It feels almost strange that this rainforest is less known, but that only allows deforestation rates to continue to rise over the years, only making the forest shrink more and more. This is why companies such as Guayaki wish to alert their consumers about this catastrophe via the Internet, to spread their message faster. To show that by buying their products, they are supporting a valiant cause and are indeed making an impact.
Despite what some consumers may believe, there really are ways that they can help prevent deforestation without changing the course of their lives. There is plenty of evidence that shows that buying certified food will not only help the environment, but many of which are also healthy for people, such as Guayaki’s yerba mate. Of course, there are many ways for people to get involved with the cause outside of buying certified food, including things such as recycling or donating to rainforest protection groups such as the Rainforest Alliance. It is important for Americans to consider whether they wish to make a contribution to protect their planet or if decide to put it off until the destruction grows so massive that it can never be reversed.
In Digital Media, I got to practice working in Reason and making music. I was able to make an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) track.
My piece is from 4:59 to 5:15
In Digital Media, I got to create my own Mandala using Adobe Illustrator, one in color and one in black and white that was laser-cut into acrylic.
In Digital Media, I was allowed a choice to create something based on one of our past Freestyle projects. I chose to make a short animation based on my lyrical essay that I wrote in English. Similar to the essay, the animation is about one’s identity and how it can fluctuate as the person grows and learns more about themselves, kind of like water, yet sometimes, other people or maybe even the person themselves tries to contain themselves and remain trapped behind glass walls.
1 and 2-Point Perspective
In Animation, I had to make two drawings using 1 and 2-point perspective.
In Animation, I had to make a short animation using Maya of a character interacting with an object. The story is that the old woman once owned a cat that passed away recently, leaving the old woman alone. She is upset that the cat died, but after seeing the toy he played with, she realized that will always remember them, even now that they’re gone.
Video (not done)
And here are some set pieces from the video.